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Long Island Wrongful Death Attorney
When a person acts negligently, it can result in an accident that causes another person to sustain serious injuries. In the worst accidents, the victim may lose their life. Any time a person is killed as a result of another person’s negligence, surviving loved ones can file a wrongful death claim. Through a wrongful death claim, loved ones can recover the financial costs associated with their loss. If you have lost someone due to the carelessness of another person, a Long Island wrongful death attorney from Silberstein, Awad & Miklos P. C. can help you navigate the claims process so you recover the fair settlement you deserve.
Defining Wrongful Death in Long Island
A wrongful death is one that should have never happened. A wrongful death occurs when a person acts negligently and causes an accident that results in the death of another person. For example, if a doctor made a mistake during surgery that caused the death of the patient, that is a wrongful death.
Wrongful death claims are sometimes filed in connection with a criminal case. For example, if someone murdered another person, they may face criminal charges and be held civilly liable through a wrongful death claim. However, civil cases are completely separate from criminal cases. The outcome of one will not have any effect on the other.
A criminal case will hold the defendant accountable to the state and the state will impose penalties without family members receiving any compensation. A civil case holds the person liable for paying damages such as funeral and burial costs, and criminal charges are not always laid as a result of a wrongful death claim.
Common Causes of Wrongful Death
Wrongful deaths are much more common than people think. There are a number of causes of wrongful death in Long Island. Some of the most common include:
- Car accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Truck accidents
- Ride-sharing accidents
- Bus accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Train accidents
- Dog bites
- Pedestrian accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Slip and fall accidents
- Construction accidents
Any time someone is killed in any of the above accidents, surviving loved ones may be able to file a wrongful death claim. To prove a wrongful death claim, a person must prove that the deceased would have been able to file a claim to recover their losses if they had survived the accident.
Eligibility for Filing a Wrongful Death Claim
Many people think that any surviving family member of the deceased can file a wrongful death claim, but that is not true. New York law states that only the personal representative of the deceased can file a wrongful death claim. This is the person who is listed in the will or estate plan of the deceased. When the deceased did not have an estate plan in place, the court will appoint a personal representative, and that individual can then file a claim.
If the personal representative is successful with the wrongful death claim, the damages recovered are then distributed among surviving loved ones. The most common beneficiaries are the spouse, children, and parents of the deceased. Generally speaking, cousins and siblings of the deceased are not considered beneficiaries unless the estate plan also names them as guardians of any minor children. Still, even in these cases, these family members may not recover any damages if there is a surviving spouse, parent, or child.
What Damages Can You Recover in a Wrongful Death Claim?
No one can determine how much any wrongful death claim is worth without first fully analyzing the facts of the case. However, there are some damages that are awarded more commonly than others, including:
- Medical expenses the deceased incurred as a result of their accident that resulted in their death
- Income the deceased lost prior to their death as a result of the accident
- Loss of earning capacity the beneficiaries were going to be dependent on if the deceased had survived the accident
- Loss of support and services the deceased provided for their household and relatives
- Loss of guidance, care, and parental nurturing the deceased provided to their surviving children
- Loss of inheritance a surviving child was depending on
- The pain and suffering the deceased incurred during the time between their accident and their death
- Interest on damages from the date of the death
- Funeral and burial costs
Although surviving loved ones in other states are able to claim damages for their own pain and suffering, that is not the case in New York. Even when the person killed in an accident due to someone else’s negligence was a minor child, parents are not able to claim pain and suffering damages. Damages for the loss of certain services, such as household chores a child was responsible for, are available but these damages are typically reduced by the cost of caring for a child.
Wrongful Death Claims and the Statute of Limitations
All states place a statute of limitations, or time limit, on wrongful death claims. New York is no different. In The New York, the statute of limitations on wrongful death claims is two years from the date of the death. To many people, this sounds like a long amount of time, but it is not.
Prior to filing a claim, a Long Island wrongful death attorney will have to conduct a full investigation to determine how the death was caused, and collect evidence to prove the claim. All of this takes time and so, to ensure the claim is filed on time and before the statute of limitations expires, it is important to speak to an attorney as soon as possible.
Get Legal Help Today
If you have lost a loved one due to the negligent or careless act of another person, our Long Island wrongful death attorneys can assist with your claim. At Silberstein, Awad & Miklos, P.C., we are committed to helping loved ones claim the damages they deserve at one of the most difficult times in their life. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.